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Former USA 2YO Colt Trotter of the Year, Pastor Stephen, steps up into Swedish elite company incuding reigning Elitppet champ Nahar for the first time since joining Solvalla trainer Daniel Redén when he takes his place in the Norrlandskt Masterskap (Championship) at Bergsaker on the weekend. A million dollar stakes earner with a record of 1.52.4, Pastor Stephen was a sensational 2YO in North America reeling off wins in the Reynolds Memorial, Champlian Stakes, William Wellwood Memorial and Simcoe Stakes for  trainer Juimmy Takter to gain the top vote in the 2YO colts and geldings category with 6 wins and 4 seconds from 11 starts and a record of 1.53.3 and earnings of around $US700,000. The Cantab Hall product of Kentucky’s Brittany Farms but an injury before the Canadian Trotting curtailed his 3YO although he won 4 of 11 starts and won just over $400,000, lowering his time to 1.52.4 with his best finish in the big stakes races being a fifth in the Hambletonian. Interestingly he is the third stallion from that year’s Hambletonian to be now plying his trade in Sweden,  joining that year’s winner Broad Bahn and Currier and Ives winner Fawkes, who was unplaced. Broad Bahn joined Stig Johansson’s stable and has yet to be sighted on Swedish tracks while Fawkes has had success in the ultra competitive elite Swedish ranks, winning the Swedish Group I King Gustav’s Pokal for 4YOs last year. Rated by top driver Yannick Gingras as one of the best horses he had ever driven, Pastor Stephen was urchased by Stall Zet in January 2011. The 3YO injury, though healing, prevented Pastor Stephen racing as a 4YO, although he did stud duties in Sweden serving some top mares such as E3 winner Sweet Desire,  and resumed training this spring, qualifying in Gavle in August. Since then Pastor Stephen has had just one start in a minor race at Gavle last month where he ran second in a sprint over 1640m in 1.12.7ak (1.57MR), interestingly beating home Group I winner Oracle (Ganymede). It is a tough test of his credentials with Robert Bergh’s Elitloppet winner Nahar (7g Love You) in the field and this will also be the first time that Pastor Stephen has raced over more than a mile (not counting the 1640m last start). Orecchietti (6h From Above) ran third in the Group II Arjangs Stora Pris in a top field behind Sebastian K and Formula One two starts back, and will be one of the favourites with Orjan Kihlstrom in the cart. Also in the field are last start winner Rakas (8h Victory Party), who won the 2010 Frances Bulwark and Finnish Group I winners  Up Date Hoss (7h Classic Response) trained by Stig Johansson  and She Loves You (6m Love You), a Finnish St Leger winning mare (and whose dam is a sister to SJ’s Caviar) who has not been in top form since returning from an unsuccessful stint in France. NORRLÄNDSKT VARMBLODSMÄSTERSKAP Bergsåker   5-10-13 V75 Gulddivision Ht, 2140m Auto 1         El Sueco (8g Calvin Capar - Otilia Sund)  Dr: Oskar J Andersson Tr:  Kristina Wiik   2         Haraldinho (6g  Scarlet Knight - Havannas Julia)  Dr:  Marcus M Melander  Tr:   Catarina Lundström              3         David Sisu  (5h Lindy Lane - Keystone Delicious)  Dr:  Ulf Ohlsson   Tr:  Petri Salmela              4         Device  (9h Pine Chip - Vitessa) Dr:   Per Linderoth Tr:    Per Linderoth              5         Nahar  (8g Love You - Mahonny Broline)   Dr: Robert Bergh  Tr:    Robert Bergh              6         Francais du Gull (6h Jag de Bellouet - Tantiem Gull) Dr:  Bo Eklöf  Tr:   Erik Lindegren              7         She Loves You (FI) (6m Love You - S J's Shad Roe)  Dr:  Jörgen Westholm Tr:    Jörgen Westholm              8         Up-Date Hoss (FI) (7h Classic Response - Celebration Ride)  Dr:  Erik Adielsson  Tr:   Stig H Johansson              9         Rakas (8h Victory Party - Tricky Woo) Dr:   Per Lennartsson  Tr:   Per Lennartsson              10       Pastor Stephen (US) (5h Cantab Hall - Gala Dream)   Dr: Daniel Redén  Tr:   Daniel Redén              11       Orecchietti (6h From Above - Canneloni)  Dr:  Örjan Kihlström  Tr:   Stefan Hultman              12       Parkin  (7g Tap In - La Bigi) Dr:   Henrik Svensson Tr:  Björn Persson   by David Sanders for Harnesslink.com  

Trainer Noel Daley knows winning his second Hambletonian with All Laid Out won’t be as easy as his first with Broad Bahn in 2011, yet his latest prospect, while diminutive in Stature, is right on schedule. The son of Yankee Glide was scheduled to start in a division of Pennsylvania Sires Stakes at Harrah’s Philadelphia on July 18, and then enter the Hambletonian eliminations on Saturday, August 3. Owned by Daley of Bordentown, NJ, All Laid Out was purchased for $32,000 at the Lexington-Selected Sale. “Honestly, I would have never bought the horse because he was about as big as a German Sheppard,” recalled the 51-year-old from Australia based at Magical Acres in Chesterfield, NJ. “He’s a well-bred horse, but just a tiny little fella. The brother [Fire To The Rain] was a bigger type and he sold for $140,000. “A friend of mine from Finland, Martti Ala-seppala, picked him out,” explained Daley. “He’s is a really good judge of yearlings. He was a co-breeder of Impressive Kemp [1:54.3, $501,074], who I had in 2009 and 2010. She won the Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs for me. “Martti loves going to the sales, watching the videos, looking at them and judging them,” he continued. “He’s handy because he can go back twenty years and remember how each of a mare’s foals stood.” As a late-blooming two-year-old, All Laid Out first qualified on August 16, 2012, and made early breaks in four of his nine freshman starts. He won a $101,000 division of the Bluegrass at The Red Mile in 1:57. “Sometimes he wasn’t paying attention, and he’s still not totally bomb proof,” said Daley. “He’s very lucky he’s still a colt. We were close to gelding him. He’s a little frustrating. He’s a little guy with a big opinion of himself. He could always trot, but I never thought he was a Hambletonian horse.” All Laid Out has three wins in seven starts this season, pushing his career earnings to $185,693. The colt has come to hand winning his last two starts, a first over 1:53.1 mile in the consolation for the Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial, then a career best of 1:53 in a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars, both at Pocono Downs. “He was actually very good in his Beal elimination,” noted Daley. “He had all kinds of trot and had nowhere to go. He doesn’t mind doing a little work. The first over trips don’t appear to bother him. We obviously won’t know until the time comes, but I don’t think the [Hambletonian] heats will hurt him. “I’m not delusional, just happy I’ve got another shot at it. We’ve made enough to pay into these stakes races and hope to get more money. That’s basically our philosophy. Over the past few weeks we’ve just thought maybe there’s some hope for the Hambletonian.” Reverting back to heats for the 2013 Hambletonian has added a twist to ramping up for this year’s classic and led to different approaches. “Some of them haven’t come back as good,” stated Daley “They were quick early on and not as good now. If my colt can improve a bit on his last couple of starts he could definitely get a piece of it. Who knows with the way things are falling this year? “Yes, you have to peak him and have everything go in your favor,” he continued. “I was talking to Chuck Sylvester the other day, and I joked with him you’ve won with worse. His horse [Spider Blue Chip] is coming around at the right time. I mean, Chuckie is the man. We were talking back in May about how all of these horses were going in 1:52 and 1:53 at the time. He told me, ‘You watch, they won’t be around come Hambletonian time’.” Wheeling N Dealin, rated number one on the Road to the Hambletonian top ten, has taken an ultra conservative route with only one start so far in 2013, which has lead to some speculation. The 2012 Dan Patch Award winner was a perfect nine-for-nine at two before suffering his first career loss. “With Wheeling N Dealin, they’re doing exactly what they said they were going to do from Day One,” said Daley. “Last year, it was him and Royalty For Life, who’s very fast, but needs to keep his mind on his manners. This year looks like an exciting one because it looks like any one of ten horses could win it right now. “We’re probably being diabolically opposite to what they’re doing with Wheeling N Dealin, but we’re really just taking our races as they come. The Hambletonian will be another race in a series of races for our colt. We weren’t really pointing him for it.” In addition to campaigning the 2005 Trotter of the Year, Mr Muscleman [1:51.1, $3,582,323], Daley finished second to eventual Horse of the Year Muscle Hill in the 2009 Hambletonian with Explosive Matter, and then won the 2011 edition with Broad Bahn. “Explosive Matter [1:52.3, $1,510,542] was a very nice horse for us,” he said. “It’s nice see his first crop is doing awesome, and he didn’t get the mares Muscle Hill did. Explosive Matter was a far better horse than Broad Bahn (1:53, $1,547,988]. Everything single thing went right with Broad Bahn. I have never been so confident in a horse prior to winning that Hambletonian. We brought him back this year. I trained him down to 2:04 at the Meadowlands and he had a filling in a hind leg. So, they brought him back to Europe.” by Rachel Ryan  

Danish owned Hambletonian winner Broad Bahn will head to Europe next week and will join the harness racing stable of Stig H. Johansson in Stockholm.

New Zealanders would love to claim her as their own. So would American trotting fans, but one of the world's greatest harness racing grooms is in fact both Japanese and deaf.

With the 2012 edition of the $700,000 Zweig Memorial Trot scheduled for this Sunday at Vernon Downs, "Inside Harness Racing" hits the road to visit 2011 champion Broad Bahn at Winbak Farm, where he has completed his first year at stud.

On April Fool's Day 2007 Deputy Sheriff Peter Alagna had to start work at 11pm, but he was also posted to drive at 10.35pm at Balmoral Park. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to drive, that didn't stop the harness racing loving Will County (Illinois) policeman.

Mark Mullen of Fair Winds Farm, harness racing breeder of 2011 Hambletonian winner Broad Bahn, and his wife Laura have made a lasting contribution to equine science students at their alma mater, the University of New Hampshire.

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